26th. Slimbridge - spoonbill, avocets, and a first winter white-rumped sandpiper that has been around for a while.
The male scaup was still on the Rushy Pen, and good numbers of Bewick's swans and white-fronted geese remain. the feral Ross's goose is still on the Dumbles, bearing a yellow ring as do many of the barnacle geese.
25th. Missed lots of birds around Ham Wall, though caught up with the drake red-crested pochard at Cheddar reservoir.
23rd. A trip to London gave an opportunity to see the Cezanne exhibition at Tate Modern. When I was 21 I visited Aix-en-Provence and hiked up the Mt St Victoire, inspired by Cezanne's landscapes. The walk, in April, was memorable, alongside cherry orchards in blossom before ascending the mountain's slopes where Ophrys orchids were flowering. Tame Alpine accentors were near the summit, and we walked back with views of the Chateau of Vauvenargues where Picasso was interred before enjoying cold beers in a bar. I had a print of the original below on my wall as a student.
A minimalist sketch by Cezanne of his favourite subject.
We saw Egyptian geese and fed the ring-necked parakeets at Kensington Gardens.
19th: Forest of Dean - 3 hawfinches at Parkend, goshawk, 2 crossbills, siskin, stock dove at New Fancy. We had distant views of the starling roost at Shapwick Heath, American wigeon still present, and a merlin flew over.
During early February large numbers of common dolphins frequented St Ives Bay, together with up to 3 harbour porpoises. Dolphin photos below.
Two people in kayaks approached the dolphins - looks like the remarkable lone kayaker Rupert Kirkwood and colleague Mark (in picture), who described their day here.
A young humpback whale came into the bay. I saw it on 1st and 4th. On the second day it came within 20m of Bamaluz, causing a group of children to scream. I rushed home as it moved away so I could see it from the bedroom window (top photo below).
With remnants of a blow.
It can be tricky working out which parts of the whale show in the images: here's an illustration from the IWC to help. The dorsal fin is set back, has a hump at its front, and in one image the bump at the from of the head can be seen.
3rd: a lovely walk from Helford to Frenchman's Creek, with a great patch of snowdrops.
The female ring-necked duck was very tame at Helston Boating Lake on 3rd.
There are still black redstarts in town: female-type at Barnoon, and female-type (below) and a male on the Island.
5th. Butterbur is already flowering on The Island.
Sunrise at St Ia's Church.